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The Charter of Athens 1933

The CIAM towards Athens: habitable space and functional city

Intervention presented at the conference:
El Gatcpac y su Tiempo, política, cultura y arquitectura en los años treinta.
V International Congress Spanish DOCOMOMO Barcelona, 26th - 29th October 2005

Paola Di Biagi

A trip across the sea among Marseilles to Athens are that characterize and diversify work style of IV International Congress of Modern Architecture from precedents CIAM and from the following. A trip that in the 1933 has contributed to give a character for some verses "mythical" to Congress in which have discussed of functional city, where fundamental functions, to live, to work, recreation, with circulation like conjunctive element, become determining for urban form.

Significantly, this international meeting concludes a reflection of CIAM on the habitable space initiated to Frankfurt in the '29 with the second congress dedicated to least lodging, continuated in the '30 to Brussels where has discussed the rational allotments and recover in the '33 with the functional city. In V Congress, from Paris in the 1937, will be worked on "House and free time," two of four indicated fundamental functions to Athens.

Frankfurt, Brussels, Athens and Paris are "places" in which the members of that Sigfried Giedion has called "new community" - founded in the 1928 - discuss on ideas, searches and plans for amelioration of habitable space. Up to burst of second world war, the moments of collective work of CIAM come through a unitary whole of congresses in which are unfolded analytical and planning method adopted and shared from this "international citadel of architects and urban planner".

A cycle from which seems to emerge, almost in a deductive way, a plan for articulate habitable space in followings steps: from the lodging, to the district, to the city, to the region; from the interior habitable space, to the external habitable space, to the urban space, up to territory. Apparently a thread seems tie spatial different in consequential way, just flowing finally in the Paper of Athens and rendering the IV a conclusive congress of a cycle of history of CIAM, beyond architecture and urbanism of the first 900's.

But we follow ours participants in trip from Marseilles to Athens and then again toward Marseilles. Their itinerary will serve for order and shell the themes lifted from that international meeting and from his conclusive text.